Monday, April 26, 2010

Welcome to.. Arendal!‏

Dear everyone,

A little about my area.. At first I was a little skeptical because Oslo had really started to grow on me. I got used to the large, business of it all and I quite enjoyed it. Here it's a completely different story haha. We had about 10-15 members in church on Sunday. I was asked to give a short info about me/testimony in sacrament meeting. That's pretty intense to do in another language, but it was good :)

They have a slightly different dialect than pure Bokmål so it can be pretty difficult to understand. In fact most of it I have no idea what they're saying to me haha.. I guess i'm making some progress though cuz a member said that my Norwegian is the best he's heard out of missionaries in a long time. At least i think that's what he said, he's kind of hard to understand :) I've gotten pretty comfortable with talking to people but I have a hard time understanding them.

After this Sunday I've pretty much met all the member's who are active haha. It's way different than Oslo cuz you are actually known instead of just another nametag. One of the members, Dagfinn, is such a trooper missionary. He's 82 I think and he comes on splits with the missionaries all the time. Btw he told me to send his regards :)

We're teaching a bunch of people right now. Many of them have been taught for along time and just need a little extra push to get movin. We had a way good teach with this guy named Helge. I talked to him about how I received my answer that the Book of Mormon is true and he said that he'd be baptized once he got his answer.

Another thing I love about this area, all the hills, water and boats! You can kind of see the boats on the right side of the picture. It's too bad we can't go out of boats cuz I would if it were allowed :) Anyway we do a lot of walking up and down hills. I've seen a lot of pretty country area and it's been nice.

I hope everything goes well this week. I know this is the Lord's true church and He is in every aspect of it. We are a part of such a great work and an exciting time in the world. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I'm eternally grateful for is sacrifice for me.



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Just another day in paradise

Dear all,

Well this week has been a pretty good one. We had a lot of teaches that went great! I had a few down moments but the work must go on and I'm goin for all it's worth :) Also, I had one of the best teaches on my mission thus far with Adam(Short story about him).

So Adam showed up a few weeks at the center seeking to learn Norwegian. I told him about the language classes on Tuesday and Thursday and he said he'd be there next time. We didn't see him for a long time after that until he showed up one evening last Tuesday. I was busy with some things but I glanced over and saw him sitting on the couch, watching "To This End Was I Born." I wasn't sure if i recognized him at first until he motioned for me to come over and said he needed to talk to me about something after the movie was finished. To this point I still wasn't exactly sure who this guy was or what he needed to talk to me about. Finally the movie ended and he began to explain to me, very quietly, that we had spoken a month ago about the Norwegian class. I nodded in response and he continued to say, "Please sir I need to learn Norwegian, will you teach me?" He is the most humble man I have ever met and has such a great spirit about him.

After that he started to try and describe the great feelings he felt while watching the Jesus Christ movie (AKA the Spirit) He then said, "Please, do you have any other movies like this one? I felt so good while watching, can I watch another one sir?" He's from India and about 50 years old. He has an incredible amount of respect for everyone he meets. We taught him the next day about The Book of Mormon and gave him a copy. As we talked with him the spirit was so strong and I am grateful I had the opportunity to meet him.

Well we didn't end up doing the sidewalk chalk thing but that will come sometime in the future. Oh btw, I just found out this morning that i'll be moving to Arendal. I'm way excited and I've heard a lot of great things about it! Transfers have been kinda crazy though cuz of the volcano that errupted in Iceland. The airports are all closed and planes can't fly with the ash that's higher up in the air. Basically the missionaries who should be going home can't and the new one's can't fly in from the MTC. Pretty much transfers have been put completely on hold for now until the volcanic ash goes away haha.

Sometimes it's hard to imagine that it's only been a week cuz I feel like I learn so much in just one day. And sometimes it feels like it's been years when in reality only one day has passed haha. It's crazy how it all works but I'm grateful for it likevel (anyway).

The gospel makes me so happy :) I love reading and studying The Book of Mormon. Never before have I had a desire to learn as much as I do now. Ah we are just so lucky to have everything we do. I love the gospel and I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I'm thankful for Him and this experience I have to "Come unto Him."



P.S. If anyone would like to know, mail isn't going anywhere over seas or coming in because the airports are all closed. So sorry if you don't get a letter from me sometime soon.

Here's my new address to be when flights resume:

Vestregate 4
4836 Arendal

Monday, April 12, 2010

An Entire Day of Sunshine

Hello all,
Today has been so great! I woke up early this morning and the sun was shining right out on the veranda. It was one of those days when you get up out of bed and say "Yeah; today will be a good day." We didn't really do a whole lot but walk through the city and buy some random items needed. Just crusin the streets and "Takin My Time." Oh, Elder and Sister Thomas took Elder Harris and I to lunch at TGI Fridays. I ordered a good ol' American bacon cheeseburger with fries haha. Hadn't had that in a while, it was nice :) Btw I did get the peanut butter package, it was great to eat real peanut butter too haha.

Hmm.. what happened this week.. Well we did a lot of finding everyday so my legs are pretty sore today. On Saturday we had a "Gate Stand" or a street stand down the main street of Karl Johans Gate. We set up a huge flag of Christ on it and set out a bunch of brochures, pass along cards, dvd's, and Book of Mormon's. I felt a lot more like a salesman than usual cuz I would walk up to people and try to get them to come over to the table for more information haha. It was interesting and kinda nice to switch things up a bit from the usual walking around and talking with people. Our next idea for finding is to draw a huge picture of the plan of salvation with sidewalk chalk, should be exciting :)

So on Sunday we taught the investigators class again. The normal teacher has been out of town for weeks because of Påske Ferie (Easter Break.) I'm still trying to get used to co-teaching with somebody. Everyone has their own teaching style and sometimes it's hard to follow the flow of things that don't go along with how you would do things, but it worked out okay :)

Sunday seemed to go by so fast it was crazy! The church here has a lot of local reporter's interested too. I didn't realize it until after but a lady who's doing a documentary on "young adult's finding ways of belonging" sat in on our lesson and then came to the center later. It was way weird cuz she was following Elder Harris and I around while we were there. I would be standing, talking with someone and I'd see her out of the corner of my eye about to snap a picture. I just didn't even know what to do! She's going to be following us around most of the day on Wednesday so that should be interesting :)

Well this will be the last week of transfers. Transfers are different from other places and are every 9 weeks. So in the end I will have served a 25 month mission instead of the usual 24 month one. I have seen so many blessings come my way and I know it's the Lord making things work. I honestly don't know how other people do it without the gospel in there lives. I could not live without it.

We've had a few good teaches this past week. We taught a way great Philippino girl and she was so excited to receive a free copy of the Book of Mormon. The other guy, Kaleb, is from Ethiopia and he was way stoked as well about reading. I've decided I really love new convert and investigators' prayers. They are so simple but so sincere and I always feel the spirit so strongly during them.

I'm so grateful for this opportunity I have to serve our Heavenly Father. I was looking back at how much I've learned in the past six months and I have truly come so far. I've seen so many things and my understanding has been enlightened because of everything. What a great duty it is to share the gospel with another. I love it :) I'm reminded each and every day how blessed I am to know my Savior lives!

Love you :)


Monday, April 5, 2010

The Day After Easter-He is Risen

Hello all,

Easter was pretty interesting cuz we didn't really do anything differently from other days except watching conference, which was absolutely wonderful :) The only common celebration Norwegians do for the Easter holiday is they all buy a ton of oranges, kvikk lunsj (basically a more delicious kit kat bar) and an orange soda drink called Solo. Then they take it all up to there cabin and eat only that for a week haha. Not the greatest celebration for what the real meaning behind the holiday but what can ya do?

Well I just want to echo other people's words in saying that conference was so great :) I got so much from every talk I loved it! I received an answer to every question\prayer I needed answered. Last week I had been feeling pretty depressed cuz we kept having plenty of appointments set but people just wouldn't show up or cancel an hour before. It just seemed like we weren't reaping any fruit of our labors which doesn't feel too good haha. Up until Saturday night (after watching the first session of conference at 6pm here :) I felt lower than I have felt in a long time. But the spirit spoke to me as each apostle spoke. That night I realized how much more I needed my Savior. It made me want to become more like Him in all that I do. Since then I've already been so much happier :) Sincere prayer is such a blessing that I know works!

I can't remember if I mentioned this in my last email but Carlos and Yamile were called into work on Sunday so we couldn't confirm them until Friday. We met them at the church last Friday and I was able to confirm Carlos. Luckily it was in English :) First time ever doing that and It felt so great! I also had the opportunity to give my first Priesthood blessing in Norwegian! I was a little nervous at first but that all went away once the spirit began to flow. I am so grateful for the blessing to be a Priesthood holder. Once again I felt like I benefited more from giving the blessing than the recipient did :)

My sinuses are soo much better now it's fantastic! I think it has a lot to do with the weather but i've been spraying this stuff up in there for a while which is pretty good. Allergies are gone for now and honestly I've been feeling great :) My testimony has grown so much in how powerful the spirit can be if you're living right and doing your best. I don't feel tired during the day time anymore unless I sit down for too long haha. If i'm striving to do what i'm supposed to then the energy is provided. You know it's been a good day when you sit down at the end of the night and fall asleep as soon as your eyes close :) It's an interesting thing though, I become much more tired at times if I start to be less diligent in the work. The less hard I work the more tired I become haha.

It's amazing to me to see how far i've actually come in the language since i've been in Norway. We haven't really had any teaches in Norwegian for a long time and I can still communicate fairly well. I can, for the most part, ruffle my way through a conversation haha. It'll be nice when I can be around native speakers more so I can put into use what i've studied. I was telling President Johansen this and he said that's good cuz you'll be moving from Olso this transfer. So that's made me curious to find out where i'll be going next.. Oh the suspense :)

One final thought.. We were out contacting last Friday and we met this girl from Sweden. We started talking to her a little bit about the plan of salvation. She was way interested and we'll be meeting with her this week. I was way surprised cuz the people who are the most interested here are not Norwegian\Swedish\Danish haha. We've had to try and find different ways of telling people our message. Interestingly enough Norwegians think they have it all to perfect here, which is true to a certain extent, but they are still missing the one thing that makes all the difference in eternal happiness :) What a great call it is to share the gospel with others. I'm so grateful for this calling!

I included some pictures of random shots I took last p-day. Hey Brent how do ya like the Obama posters hangin on each side? haha.
I decided I haven't taken pictures of things around in the city enough. Hopefully we'll be going out sometime later so I can take/send more pictures :)

I hope you have a good week! The gospel is still the greatest news around :) I love you all


Eldste Farrer